If you ever asked yourself this question, surely you know the popular belief that puts forward that each year of life of a dog equals to 7 human years. In reality, canine life expectancy is related to size and one human year would represent for a small dog many years less than for a giant dog.
Longevity varies according to the dog’s size in their adult state, which is in turn determined by their genetic make up or breed. Size is a determinant of the life cycle as well as longevity of a dog. For example, while most dogs reach maturity between 12 and 18 months of age, larger dog breeds reach adulthood more slowly, at 24 months. In general, the smallest dogs are the longest living, as they can live about 15 years on average, while larger dogs live between 7 and 8 years.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has created the following table to illustrate how a dog’s age and its human equivalent varies in accordance to the dog’s weight.
Likewise, size is also related to the age at which a dog becomes a senior. The age at which a dog could begin to show signs of aging could be 11, 10, 8 and 7 years for small, medium, large and giant dogs, respectively.
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The following table summarizes WebMd’s empirical data to indicate the years that dogs live, on average, according to their size and in relation to their weight.
Some exceptions to the rule are those known as the longest-living dogs.